"The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do." ~ Eric Hoffer
Finkelstein Republicans and Other Mutant Political Animals I Have Known
Arthur Finkelstein, a prominent Republican campaign consultant and right-wing political rainmaker, apparently has not had any problems in reconciling his gay lifestyle and marriage to another man with his paid and pro bono campaign management for such ultra-conservative, religious fundies and homophobics as former Senator Jesse Helms, among many others just like him. Now if Finkelstein did all this just for the money, then it isn't necessarily hypocritical, it is just business, morally conflicted as it may be. However, if it isn't, how in the hell can he justify it?
Such immoral and anti-liberty monstrosities as the US Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (signed into law by Bill Clinton no less!) would not have been possible without the help of Mr. Finkelstein's successful clients. So, for me it begs the question, 'Why does he do it?' How can he justify himself to the people hurt by all this? Finkelstein must be aware of all this on some level of mind.
I have always been amazed at how some people can compartmentalize deeply held beliefs in one place in their mind and then knowingly and deliberately do something totally at odds with those same beliefs in another, and seemingly without any qualms or hesitation, either.
I have met or know of a few people in public life over the years who did exactly those same sort of things.
In the town I once lived in there was a local politician who was hell-bent on banning handguns. That was her 'brand' political issue. When, after three attempts, she was at last successful at gaining a seat on the city council, she never failed to read anti-gun screeds into the council minutes, whether relevant or not, bash the NRA, or propose all manner of legislative remedies to our 'gun violence' problem.
So, imagine my shock, awe, and hysterical laughter (coffee out the nose variety!) when I read in the newspaper one day that she discovered her husband in an liaison amoureuse and so went over to the motel where her husband and his mistress were trysting, and pulled out a war souvenir of her late father's: a Wehrmact issue P-38 9mm service pistol, and popped a half dozen rounds through their motel room door.
Happily for the unfaithful couple, no one was hurt, and happily for me at least, this nut's political credibility was as empty as the pistol's magazine when the police arrested her. Ms. 'I-Hate-Handguns' had this unlicensed, unregistered, Nazi-issue pistol in her desk drawer all the time she was going off on her anti-gun tirades! Go figger.
Was she unique or rare? Oh, hell no.
Politicians of all types just love to promote 'family friendly values" and to project that sort of persona, don't they? In my observation of them however, they are some of the most sex-obsessed kinksters not incarcerated or on the sex offender registry. I worked as a local politics columnist and writer for alternative weeklies in Ann Arbor, MI and Seattle, WA for a time, so I got to see a few of them up close.
I saw one county commissioner who would wear short skirts and no panties to board meetings, and then do a Sharon Stone-type beaver flash in the direct view of the podium to distract speakers who she did not like.
I knew of a police chief who was obsessed with prostitutes. He would tape "interviews" with arrested hookers and record (for what purpose or use he never said) hours of tape while having them describe what sex acts were the most popular and any kinky or perverted requests they got from their clients in detail.
Then there was the angry Malcolm X wannabe city councilman who railed against the good ol' boy white power structure but who would bang none but white chicks and who used city-owned video cams to record his fun. Cool, eh? Yep, until he left one of his tapes in the camcorder when he returned it.
These same idiots presume themselves to be qualified ethically and morally to govern others, too. Sheesh. Go figger.
"To be governed", said Pierre Joseph Proudhon, "is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated, regimented, closed in, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, evaluated, censored, commanded; all by creatures that have neither the right, nor wisdom, nor virtue . . . To be governed means that at every move, operation, or transaction one is noted, registered, entered in a census, taxed, stamped, priced, assessed, patented, licensed, authorized, recommended, admonished, prevented, reformed, set right, corrected."
Proudhon was right, too.
On a more serious note though, I do understand that people get angry. I understand that no one, no matter how noble and righteous they may think they are, really is. We all have our guilty pleasures, secret foibles, and secrets. I understand that we all have deeply held beliefs about manners, morals, and politics among many others that we sometimes violate due to desperation, anger, illness, fatigue, fear, and other traits that make us all 'human, all too human,' to quote Nietzsche.
However, that said and stipulated, how in the hell can some people depart that far from them? I guess I will never understand this sort of moral treason until it happens to me.